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Grocery Manufacturers Among Most Civically Minded U.S. Companies

The Hershey Co., ConAgra Foods, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), General Mills and tobacco company Altria Group were recognized as among the United States' most community-minded companies in The Civic 50.

Hershey was No. 3 in the Consumer Discretionary Sector, No. 2 overall for social impact, No. 4 overall for institutionalization and No. 6 overall in the business impact category. The Pennsylvania-based confectioner scored in the top 25 percent of companies in all five ranking categories.

ConAgra, Dr Pepper and Altria came in first, second and third, respectively, in the Consumer Staples sector of the survey, which was conducted by volunteer service organization Points of Light and the National Conference on Citizenship. The Civic 50 was created in 2012.

Enduring Commitment

"Our company was built on our founder's belief that 'business is a matter of human service' and the remarkable employees at Hershey work to bring goodness to the world each and every day," said Mike Wege, Hershey’s chief marketing and growth officer. "Making a difference is a Hershey core value, and we are motivated when our business expertise and financial resources are able to make measurable, positive change. From developing programs that help cocoa farmers in West Africa to food-insecure families in our backyard and around the world, our employees bring a passionate commitment to all of our programs."

"Our commitment to the communities in which we live and work is one of the key planks of ConAgra Foods' citizenship platform," added Chris Kircher, VP, Corporate Affairs and president of the ConAgra Foods Foundation. "Doing the right thing gives our employees a great sense of pride."

"The recognition underscores our commitment to socially responsible practices and is a testament to our employees' desire to do good things for the communities that have supported our company's successes over the years," observed Vicki Draughn, VP of corporate affairs for Plano-Texas DPS, noting that it was the third such win in a row for the soft drink supplier. Hershey and Altria are also three-time winners, while ConAgra made the list in 2012.

This year, among Hershey's other philanthropic projects, more than 1,700 of its employees participated in Good to Give Back Week, the company's global week of volunteerism. The week culminated in a record-setting event with Raleigh, N.C.-based wordwide nonprofit organization Stop Hunger Now, during which more than 600 Hershey employees worked in dozens of assembly lines to create and pack 210,000 meals that were delivered to needy children in El Salvador and Liberia.

The Civic 50 summary report cited ConAgra's Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, which, it observed, "increases consumer awareness of child hunger and provides an easy way for them to help," as well as the Omaha, Neb.-based company's community engagement program, Good for You, Good for the Community and Good for the Planet. The report also noted that DPS committed $15 million over three years to Washington, D.C.-based playground charity KaBOOM!, and 2,300 employees volunteered almost 19,000 hours to build 40-plus playgrounds.

"Corporate civic engagement is on the rise, and it's being led by the forward-thinking businesses included on The Civic 50 list," noted Neil Bush, chairman of Atlanta-based Points of Light. "The correlation their efforts showcase between community engagement and employee retention, productivity and overall bottom-line benefits continues to prove that businesses that do good do well. We … hope that they continue to inspire greater investments in improving communities through corporate civic engagement."

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